THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER
Arrived in Bangkok with reservations from the stories we were told prior to getting here. It is very hot, polluted & over-crowded but Gaz loves & it ranks much higher in my estimations than i imagined. Stayed in a plush hotel the first 2nights to ease ourselves into the city. Lounged on the rooftop pool & generally slept off jet lag. Took a walk to Siam square (very westernized but worth a visit). Had a ride on the sky train (Gaz thinks its an amazing invention lol). Ate first thai meal - didn't really know what we were ordering & ended up with food way too spicy for our liking. Made a mental note to learn some thai dishes.
FRIDAY 1ST DECEMBER 2006
Ate for 1st time off a street vendor.I was a bit dubious cos they're not the cleanest of eateries but was pleasantly suprised both with the food quality & the price!! Everythings pretty cheap considering we are in the capital. Can't wait to get to more rural areas :) Moved accomodation today to a place in Chinatown which was an expereince in itself. Streets are like hot furnaces &its more cramped than we thought possible - full of cars& food stalls roasting horse chesnuts! Walked to the infamous Kao San Road - Gaz is very impressive with his map reading skills would you believe! Before i forget its official - united are going to win the league (Mr Chet gaz's new best mate says so).
Saturday 2nd DECEMBER 2006
Booked into the Sawasadee guest house courtesy of Sir Jay Roberts recommendation (thank you v.much mate). I braced myself for my 1st night in squalor but was more than happy. More suprisingly was my bumping into a familiar face (Craig - yes Rhianwen THE Craig). Settled in with the usual beer & a coke then took a commuter river boat to the John Thomspon House along the Sam Sap river. Basically an american dude who moved to Thailand during the war, set up a silk business exporting across the globe, built his own impressive Thai house & became a local hero in doing so (for those who didn't already know). Also went to Lumpini park which was gorgeous.took a boat out on the lake then marvelled at the hundreds (literally) of thai people engaging in aerobics sessions throughout the park. 6 o'clock came and the whole park stood still to pay homage to the king who it has to be said is an absolute legend to the thai people. We then ventured to the Patpong roads and visited a GO-Go bar - needless to say we didn't stay long although Gaz seemed to enjoy it more than i did lol. We then ventured to watch a "ping pong" show which was ladies, ping pong balls & u can use your imagination for the rest. walked around the bazaares where gaz paid more for a pair of sandals than he should of although he did make an impressive effort at bartering.
SUNDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2006
Took a walk to the edge of Bangkok to visit the Grand Palace & the Wat Phra Kaeo (a temple of the emerald buddha).had to cover up as expected but Gaz can't seem to comprehend why in a country so hot this would be part of the people's religion. Was impressive although couldn't look around the palace itself which was a bit of a let down. We then took a trip down the Chao Phraya River, saw the Wat arun (temple of the dawn). At the night we went to the Sanam Luang park where they are setting up ready for the King's birthday on the 5th which looks like it's going to be a huge event. Watched a popular local game resembles muff (gaz tells me) but is essentially keepy uppy with a lot of skill involved aiming at a net in the sky.
MONDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2006
took a boat to Wat Po (temple of the reclining buddha) which was awesome.will post photos when we get chance. Then visited the Vimanmek mansion which was the King's former residence - gaz fancies gettin his own when he's older :) (Rich would have loved it with a capital L). Speaking of Rich Gaz keeps "seeing" him around lense in hand snap happy, $10000 camera in tow. Afer this Gaz regressed to his childhood days and wanted to visit the zoo which i have to say was pretty good! Got back to the hostel & went out for some thai food which i'm having a few problems with being the fussy eater that i am but i'm getting there slowly. Il soon be eating the grasshoppers & the fish eyes :) Gaz is as expected trying everything in sight but even he couldn't stomach the birds claw in his soup.
Tomorrow is the King's birthday which we were advised to stay for. Looks like they'll be road parades, fireworks, concerts, & general craziness. Wednesday we are travelling by bus up to the former capital Ayuthaya then off to Sukothai before travelling north to Chiang Mai ready for the jungle treks, elephant riding & bamboo rafting. Will keep you posted.
lots of love to you all xxx
P.S. Thanks Grandad (Cliff) for the footie updates - keep 'em comin.